The many different faiths who have made the city of Livorno their home over the centuries are reflected in much of the city’s architecture. Apart from Catholic churches, with their heavy emphasis on the Madonna, there are also Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Dutch-German and English places of worship. The Armenian Church, with its impressive Baroque façade is in via della Madonna. One of the city’s oldest churches is in the same street, the church of Santissima Annunziata, also known as the United Greek church. This church was built in the seventeenth century and houses some splendid wooden iconoclasts. The ‘Flemish Nation’ established itself here in Livorno at the end of the seventeenth century and built the Neo-Gothic Dutch church in the nineteenth century.
In via Verdi, opposite the entrance to the Old English Cemetery, is the Neo-Classic Anglican church. Piazza Benamozegh is home to the current Israelite Temple which was completely re-built after the synagogue was destroyed during the Second World War. There are many Catholic churches in Livorno dedicated to the Madonna, starting with the church of the Madonna in via della Madonna. This well-preserved church was built in the seventeenth century. There is also the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso which stands in the leafy piazza della Vittoria. The high point of a tour of the city’s churches is a visit to the Montenero Sanctuary, dedicated to the patron saint of Tuscany, Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The cathedral in Livorno is dedicated to San Francesco and is situated in piazza Grande. To one side of the cathedral is the church of Santa Giulia, dedicated to the city’s own patron saint. This church was built between 1602 and 1603 by Ferdinando I de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. A canvas from the Giotto school hangs here over the main altar. In the heart of the historic Venezia district is the de-consecrated church del Luogo Pio which provides a great example of Late Baroque architecture. This district is also home to the octagonal-shaped church of Santa Caterina in piazza dei Domenicani and the church of San Ferdinando in piazza Anita Garibaldi which is also known as the church ‘della Crocetta’ and which is another excellent example of Late Baroque architecture. Along the seafront in piazza San Jacopo is the church of San Jacopo in Acquaviva which was built on the ruins of a fourth century hermitage.
The Livorno area is told through the sound of the waves breaking on the rocky coast. They listen carefully to the wind blowing through the nearby hills and nestled towns, like Collesalvetti, where the light arriving from the sea drenches the ...